The Highest-Paid Athletes In The World In 2023


Each year, the highest-paid athletes list looks slightly different. Contracts end, surprise moves are made, and new stars are born. There are only a handful of athletes who dominate the list year after year. In 2023, the top 20 highest-paid athletes in the world include golfers, football players, basketball players, baseball players, and racers. They are predominantly male, and their collective earnings equal billions of dollars. This guide will look at the top 20 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2023, the money they've made, their careers, and the brands they've collaborated with.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Total earnings, 2023: $275 million

At the top of our list, we have the Portuguese football player and influencer, Cristiano Ronaldo. As of 2023, his income totals $275 million. The figure is made up of his football salary, which sits at a cool $215 million, as well as his off-the-field earnings or endorsements from brands like LV, Nike, and DAZN, of $60 million. His total career earnings amounted to $1.28 billion at the end of 2022 – the second-highest figure on the list behind US golfer Tiger Woods. Ronaldo currently plays for the Portuguese national team and Al-Nassr FC, which he joined in 2023 as a free agent, becoming the highest-paid footballer in history.

2. Jon Rahm

Total earnings, 2023: $203 million

Second place goes to Spanish professional golfer Jon Rahm. As of 2023, his earnings amounted to $203 million, with the majority of it coming from his salary and winnings on the course, which amounts to $181 million. The rest of his wealth comes from endorsements from brands like Mercedes Benz and Rolex. As of December 2023, Rahm is part of the LIV Golf League and owns an expansion team, Legion XIII. The contract is worth $300 million and could easily push Rahm to the top of this list in a year's time.

3. Lionel Messi

Total earnings, 2023: $130 million

In third place, we have the Argentinian football superstar Lionel Messi, who plays for his home country’s national team and brought them their most recent World Cup victory in Qatar. As of 2023, Messi’s income totals roughly $130 million. It’s split evenly between his football career and the endorsements, although his professional salary is expected to be even higher in 2024. His total career earnings amount to $1.22 billion, which puts him behind LeBron James and just behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

4. LeBron James

Total earnings, 2023: $125.7 million

The richest basketball player in the world is also the NBA’s first billionaire. LA Lakers legend LeBron James is number four on our list. His total earnings for 2023 are estimated to be $125.7 million, with $80 million coming from endorsements with brands like AT&T and PepsiCo. The remaining $45.7 million came from his basketball career. As of 2022, the total earnings of LeBron James amount to $1.29 billion. That puts him in the third spot in the rating of highest-paid active athletes of all time, behind Tiger Woods and

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